Saturday, 23 November 2013

Helping with homework.

I think it exciting to fish.
I think it easy to ride a bike.
To know is quite different from to teach.
He is hungry to eat all the food.

What do these sentences have in common?
Being example sentences in Hiro's niece's government approved textbook...(publisher Sanseido)

The kids of Japan deserve much better

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Sunday, 17 November 2013

A new Tokyo transport map - well done JR East

I came across this for the first time this evening. It's a new integrated map of the Tokyo rail network.  it's seriously impressive. Not all stations are marked, but as far as I can tell, all lines are.  (At least if the Toden Arakawa tram line and the Nippori Toneri liner are on it, I think all lines should be.)
It really gives a sense of the extent of the rail network.
This is the link to the JR East page.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Two tales of one city (2)

Today we were in the Ueno Okachimachi area.  I wanted to go to Ueno to buy some chili and other spices that are more easily available from the underground wet market than they are locally.  It's about 5-6 km from Marunouchi / Ginza where we were yesterday, but it couldn't be more different.
For starters there wasn't a shred of evidence of Christmas (not a bad thing in early November)... and then the rest...

I don't think this would make the cut for a Marunouchi Naka dori
sculpture series.

Stepping back the garbage bin & vending machine make it an even less likely candidate.
An Indian / Nepalese "Namaste" Oedo restaurant...
I'm still bemused by the incongruity of Nepalese and Oedo
A darts bar that serves guinness 
The extend of the vandalism in the area
Hotel New Tohoku. Hiro was relieved it wasn't a love hotel...
The trains from Tohoku used to terminate at Ueno and there
is a lot of cheap accommodation near station.
Houses build out of corrugated iron. The proximity of the car park suggests that
there is someone waiting to buy out the residents to construct an apartment building on the site.
Housing which is presumably very basic 
The heart and soul of the shitamachi resides in these kind of houses.
If the locals are forced out by gentrification, the Tokyo matsuris
will find it increasingly difficult to continue.
A chook at the Shitaya shrine
Everything at the Shitaya shrine seemed just a bit wonky.
It was 7-5-3 today - children go to the shrine in kimono.
The inari jinja (fox shrine) in the background
Temple people doing maintenance work.
A beat up radio - it's a symbol of a certain generation of Japanese men -
walking around listening the baseball or sumo or whatever... it wasn't on.
The Shitaya shrine
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The shrine entrance.
Corrugated iron, but unlike some of the others near by did not seem abandoned.
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Sunday, 10 November 2013

Two tales of one city (1)

Yesterday after the mornings meanderings we wound up in Ginza. The main drag is beginning to be adorned with Christmas decorations.

Anything to do with the year of the snake ?

Would a Cartier building fit under the Christmas tree?
Louis Vuitton was also looking festive.

We mosied through the International Forum to Mitsubishi Ichi go Kan. The whole area of Marunouchi is owned by or linked to the various branches of the theoretically defunct zaibatsu Mitsubishi.  Mitsubishi seems to have a hook up with Disney, since decorations seemed to be overwhelmingly Disney connected.... crass...
Winnie the Pooh and Tigger infront of a honey inspired Christmas tree?

The artwork along Marunouchi naka dori is often impressive. Yesterday was no exception.
A zebra.  Hiro wouldn't oblige by getting onto it's back...
Marunouchi Naka dori
A very cool looking woman 
with hair I can relate to..
This art was a little beyond me... and the man walking past who didn't bat an eyelid at it.
A cultivated boulevard feeling
Surprisingly not outside Tiffanys 
A Christmas tree in Shin Maru bilu
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The new local drugstore

Has an alcohol section at the back - like beer and chuu-hai and whiskey...
Something just doesn't seem quite right.
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